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Customer Review

16 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The best-- until it isn't, March 28, 2012
This review is from: The Eternal Ones of the Dream: Selected Poems 1990 - 2010 (Paperback)
This is a difficult review for me to write, because James Tate is my favorite contemporary American poet. He had a run of unsurpassed brilliance, beginning with the experimentalism of Viper Jazz in the mid-70s and concluding with Shroud of the Gnome in 1998. His trademarked verbal acrobatics knocked me for a loop like nobody else's.
When I walked up to a bookstore's poetry shelf and beheld the girth of Tate's next volume, Memoir of the Hawk, my heart sank. He had taken his customary time period between volumes, but instead of the usual 40 to 50 poems, he had cranked out over a hundred. The poems were prose poems with arbitrary line breaks, absurdist narratives that elicited a wry smile. It was as if Tate had read Russell Edson's cautionary and gnomic work, decided that it looked a lot easier than what he was doing, and set to work.
I will be perusing this volume for many years to come, hoping to find more lines with the lapidary brilliance of:
"And the dream has a pain in its heart/ the wonders of which are manifold,/or so the story is told."
Those lines end Dream On, from Shroud of the Gnome, Tate's final (to date) blaze of glory.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 6, 2013 1:51:54 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 6, 2013 1:54:59 AM PST
More reviews, the fruit of your reading experience, would be appreciated
If I had to recommend one revelatory and criminally undervalued volume, now Joe Brainard has been taken to a nation's heart, sort of (though you really need the original mimeos) it might well be Paul Goodman's collected - Goodman's long-time editor (and presumably ex) curiously a namesake of yours
Among Brits, Stevie Smith is still undervalued (her fault, for indulging in those doodles - though imagine if Pound or Eliot had doodled!) and any poetry before 1700 repays the time. Keep chasing that epiphany

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2014 1:28:44 PM PDT
Joe Brainard is a lot of fun. I like all of the New York School to degrees. Ron Padgett, another favorite. Schuyler, Koch, Malanga-- the list goes on. Thanks for your encouragement.
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